I read her books when I was still a child – not all of them but quite a few and then in 1985 That film and everyone knew about her.
The question for me is why the interest – her house and history was preserved locally quite a while before the film was made and draws thousands of visitors annually.
In a nutshell, wealthy Danes came to make a fortune for themselves off Kenyan land first with cattle and then decided to switch to coffee – in both instances without research. This was not coffee ‘land’ and the going was tough. Husband left and continued hunting; new man arrived and things improved till it ended.
I’m talking of course about Karen Blixen (Dinesen) – Out of Africa – who declared bankruptcy and returned to Denmark to write her books.
Out of the nutshell, so to speak, there is clearly a mystique about her life that has Kenyans and the rest of the world enthralled.
I visited her home today ( no photos allowed inside – watch the film if you want to see inside) – it is exactly as it was, but the gardens are lovely.
One can no longer see the Ngong hills
And the home is in the middle of suburbia (called Karen) but 6 acres is a national monument
A very early start saw me leaving an ordered, green and remarkable Rwanda and land in an Africa I am more familiar with – yellow ‘veldt’
Nairobi – (Kenya – 40 mill people) feels like they all live here
Somewhat chaotic airport process, damaged bag 😥, and finally my guides.
The streets are a madhouse, it took us hours to move hardly anywhere and this is Sunday! They (the streets) have the familiar littered look and the pavements ( nature strips) are non existent.
Car Windows are kept closed against theft and I wouldn’t put my nose outside the hotel alone.
Lunch at an outdoor restaurant which claimed wifi (didn’t work) was fairly average (very) and took almost an hour to produce – smiles abound but the energy and sense of productivity I sensed elsewhere is absent here.
This is I acknowledge only my first day – the jury must remain open
I am travelling in luxury a 8 seater Nissan (or maybe Toyota ) something – just me and when we arrived at the game park up went the roof, into the back went I and stood up feeling like the pope 😳 – able to look all around without the sun burning my head or the rain destroying my hairdo 😀😀
We left Nairobi this morning and arrived at lake Nakuru for lunch – an extravagant luxury resort looking down on the lake – my bathroom as big as my lounge at home snd the bedroom – well almost the size of my house 😂😂😂
As to game – we go back to that ‘benchmark’ I referred to earlier. If like me you were lucky enough to ‘cut your teeth’ in the delta, Zim and mkuze etc in the 70’s you have a different benchmark from many :
We have seen good birds, zebras by the hundreds, Impala too – a lovely rich orange colour when compared to ‘ours’; Thomsons gazelle ( also deep orange) waterbuck; huge trios of vervet monkeys, Colobus monkeys and hundreds and hundreds of buffalo.
I am told there are both black and white rhino here. They have obviously learnt to keep well out of view of poachers ( and everyone else) so for the moment I must take ‘their’ word for the presence of rhino
I remember when we used to see so many rhino we stopped looking at them and a nagging thought would not leave me today couldn’t
‘would a time come for zebra
or buffalo when we say the same? ‘